Senior Research Scientist, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer CenterBiography
Dr. Surajit Dhara is a Senior Research Scientist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. His focus as a cancer biologist has been in the areas of experimental therapeutics and development of biomarkers for precision therapy in malignant diseases. His most recent accomplishment is the discovery of an epigenetic biomarker for individualized therapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) through a multidisciplinary collaborative project that included experts from both academia and industry. Dr Dhara did a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University where he focused on therapeutic opportunities related to the hedgehog signaling pathway and how de novo mutations may occur through the cancer treatment process. Following this work, he was a part of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, the institute driving the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) India project. As a Principal Investigator he pursued clonal evolution of tumor cells under the selection pressure of chemotherapy using next-generation sequencing technologies. With his research team he developed clinical resources both in Head & Neck cancers and Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). He led a multidisciplinary project on epigenetic biomarker discovery in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) at the Rubenstein Center for Pancreas Research in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Here he and the team investigated tumor-cell intrinsic epigenetic patterns of PDAC by ATAC-seq technology, instead of the traditional approach of using bulk tumors. This led to the discovery of a chromatin accessibility signature predicting prognosis of PDAC. Next Dr Dhara and the team invented a novel microarray technology called “ATAC-array”, a technology suitable in the future for clinical diagnostics. Dr Dhara’s immediate goal is develop precision oncology technologies that will deliver better outcomes and better quality of life for cancer patients.